The tax filing and subsequent refund or payment process is a multibillion dollar event on consumers’ bottom lines. Most consumers file taxes, yet it is a segmented market with many DIYers, who mainly rely on tax preparation software, and many others who pay for professional help. Tax filing presents a variety of opportunities for institutions to build relationships with consumers – not just regarding taxes but with their financial situation overall.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer tax filings both currently and in the future

  • How consumers file taxes and segmentation between DIY and paid-professional markets

  • Millennials, taxes and where they might be most influenced to change

  • Tax savings strategies and opportunities to reach more-affluent individuals


This Report covers consumer and taxpayer attitudes toward taxes: how they prepare them, how they feel about them, what steps they take to minimize them and how they use refunds. Except for separating out whether they owe state or federal taxes or receive a state or federal tax refund or both, there is no differentiation between attitudes and behaviors surrounding state and federal taxes.

COVID-19: market context

This Report was written in early 2021. Data was fielded in November 2020 and thus reflects the behaviors and attitudes of consumers during the reemergence stage of the pandemic.

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. It was declared a global health pandemic and national emergency in early March 2020. Across the US, various stay-at-home orders were put in place in Spring 2020, and nonessential businesses and school districts closed or shifted to remote operations. The remainder of 2020 saw rolling orders, as states and local governments relaxed and reinforced guidelines according to the spread of the virus in each region.

Vaccine rollout began in December 2020. Based on current estimates of vaccine production and distribution, the US could reach herd immunity, with 70-85% of the population vaccinated, by late Summer to early Fall 2021. Mintel anticipates business operations in the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021 as the vaccine is widely administered.

Economic and other assumptions

Mintel’s economic assumptions are based on CBO estimates released on February 1, 2021. The CBO’s previous forecast for US GDP to fall by 5.8% in 2020 was revised after a stronger second half of the year and the updated estimate indicates negative 3.5% GDP for the year. The CBO forecasts for GDP to grow by 4.6% in 2021 and unemployment to continue to fall to average 5.7% for the year do not take into consideration the impact of the $1.9 trillion economic relief package, which is expected to further boost growth.

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